The liberation of Dachau

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I have been to Munich several times over the last 15 years or so, and every time I visited the city I planned to take the short train journey to Dachau.But for some bizarre reason I never got there.It was as if fate didn’t want me to go there, maybe it was afraid I wasn’t ready to face the horrors that were committed there, for I am an emotional man,not whiny but emotional.

I can not even fathom the disgust and hate the allied troops must have felt when they liberated the camp this day 72 years ago.

Below are pictures if what they found when they arrived on 29 April 1945, subsequently the same day Adolf Hitler married Eva Braun.

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Polish survivors celebrating the liberation of Dachau

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Walenty Lenarczyk, a prisoner at Dachau, stated that following the camp’s liberation “prisoners swarmed over the wire and grabbed the Americans and lifted them to their shoulders… other prisoners caught the SS men… The first SS man elbowed one or two prisoners out of his way, but the courage of the prisoners mounted, they knocked them down and nobody could see whether they were stomped or what, but they were killed.”Elsewhere in the camp SS men, Kapos and informers were beaten to a pulp with fists, sticks and shovels. There was at least one incident where American troops turned away from two prisoners beating a German guard to death with a shovel, and Lt. Bill Walsh witnessed one such beating.Another soldier witnessed an inmate stomping on an SS trooper’s face until “there wasn’t much left.” When the soldier said to him, “You’ve got a lot of hate in your heart,” he simply nodded.

An American chaplain was told by three young Jewish men, who had left the camp during liberation, that they had beaten to death one of the more sadistic SS guards when they discovered him hiding in a barn and dressed as a peasant.

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Killings by the American soldiers

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Some of the American troops who liberated Dachau were so appalled by conditions at the camp that they machine-gunned at least two groups of captured German guards. It is officially reported that 30 SS guards were killed in this fashion, but conspiracy theorists have alleged that more than 10 times that number were executed by the American liberators.

he German citizens of the town of Dachau were later forced to bury the 9,000 dead inmates found at the camp.

Lt. Col. Felix L. Sparks, a battalion commander of the 157th Infantry Regiment, 45th Infantry Division, Seventh United States Army, wrote about the incident. Sparks watched as about 50 German prisoners captured by the 157th Infantry.

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Regiment were confined in an area that had been used for storing coal. The area was partially enclosed by an L-shaped masonry wall about 8 ft (2.4 m) high and next to a hospital. The German POWs were watched over by a machine gun team from Company I. He left those men behind to head towards the center of the camp where there were SS who had not yet surrendered; he had only gone a short distance when he heard a soldier yell, “They’re trying to get away!” and then machine-gun fire coming from the area he had just left. He ran back and kicked a 19-year-old soldier nicknamed “Birdeye” who was manning the machine gun and who had killed about 12 of the prisoners and wounded several more. The gunner, who was crying hysterically, said that the prisoners had tried to escape. Sparks said that he doubted the story; Sparks placed an NCO on the gun before resuming his journey towards the center of the camp.Sparks further stated:

It was the foregoing incident which has given rise to wild claims in various publications that most or all of the German prisoners captured at Dachau were executed. Nothing could be further from the truth. The total number of German guards killed at Dachau during that day most certainly did not exceed fifty, with thirty probably being a more accurate figure. The regimental records for that date indicate that over a thousand German prisoners were brought to the regimental collecting point. Since my task force was leading the regimental attack, almost all the prisoners were taken by the task force, including several hundred from Dachau.

Some historians claim this incident constituted a war crime, I don’t subscribe to that point of view. The allied troops witnessed evil which was beyond anything they had ever witnessed. The slaughter of innocent,mostly civilian lives.

The German citizens of the town of Dachau were later forced to bury the 9,000 dead inmates found at the camp.

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